In Huancayo, there’s mutual disrespect when it comes to pedestrians: Cars rarely give pedestrians the right of way and pedestrians rarely pay attention to designated crosswalks and crossing times. I’ve learned to be both a defensive pedestrian, stopping and judging risk so that I’m not a victim of crash accidents, and an offensive pedestrian, confidently stepping out onto the street in the face of traffic.
I have often been forced to race across highways, dodging reckless drivers. That’s what Percy Rosales Sosa did when he was hit. He died yesterday at 18 years of age.The old Toyota Yaris had a steeply sloped hood and scooped Percy up when he tried to dodge the speeding taxi last Friday. The impact of Percy’s body on the windshield was strong enough to break the glass and throw him a good distance away. My friend Junior, who was with him at the time, wondered in retrospect why he wasn’t the one hit. Junior was better known for his bravado but that day, it was Junior who paused behind the parked car where he couldn’t see oncoming traffic and it was Percy who had jumped out and made a run for it.
By the time Junior got to Percy, he was having a seizure on the highway. The taxi driver helped Junior lay Percy in the car and they took him to the nearest hospital. During the ride, Percy came to and complained about having a headache. What they would later learn were skull fractures would prevent Percy from raising his head. Despite the gravity of the situation, Percy’s father maintains that the doctors at the local hospital purposely delayed in attending to him (link in Spanish) because he didn’t have health insurance. Almost a day later, possibly due to the lack of medical attention, Percy had a stroke and fell into a coma until he passed away.They’re cremating him because his body was in such bad shape and wouldn’t have been appropriate for the typical open casket viewing they have at wakes here in Peru. If I heard correctly, the last Junior saw of Percy, his nose had a hole in it, his chin had shifted to the right and his dislocated right shoulder faced the wrong way.
I’ve always noticed that death was more open here in the Andes, but I never thought that one of the people on the front page of the paper would be someone I knew.
Does knowing and remembering that life is short make you more or less of a risk taker? In what ways?